Google Ads Conversion Tracking Methods

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Methods: A Comprehensive Guide

Google Ads has revolutionized the way businesses advertise online, providing a powerful platform to reach potential customers across the globe. However, running ads is only half the battle. To truly understand the effectiveness of your campaigns, you need to track conversions. Conversion tracking allows you to see what happens after a customer interacts with your ads, whether they make a purchase, fill out a form, or sign up for a newsletter. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the various Google Ads conversion tracking methods, helping you optimize your campaigns and maximize ROI.

What is Conversion Tracking?

Conversion tracking is the process of monitoring and recording user actions that are valuable to your business. In the context of Google Ads, a conversion is any action that you deem valuable, such as:

  • Completing a purchase
  • Submitting a lead form
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Downloading a whitepaper
  • Calling your business

By tracking these actions, you gain insights into which ads, keywords, and campaigns are driving valuable customer behavior, allowing you to optimize your strategies and allocate your budget more effectively.

Why is Conversion Tracking Important?

Understanding the impact of your advertising efforts is crucial for several reasons:

  • Optimize Ad Spend: Identify which ads and keywords are driving the most conversions, allowing you to allocate your budget to the most effective areas.
  • Measure ROI: Calculate the return on investment for your campaigns, helping you determine whether your advertising efforts are profitable.
  • Improve Ad Performance: Gain insights into customer behavior, enabling you to refine your ad copy, targeting, and bidding strategies.
  • Make Data-Driven Decisions: Use concrete data to make informed decisions about your marketing strategies, rather than relying on assumptions or guesswork.

Setting Up Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Before diving into the specific tracking methods, it’s essential to understand the general setup process for Google Ads conversion tracking. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Sign in to Google Ads: Log in to your Google Ads account.
  • Access Conversions: Click on the tools icon in the upper right corner, then select “Conversions” under the “Measurement” section.
  • Create a New Conversion Action: Click the plus button to create a new conversion action.
  • Select Conversion Source: Choose the type of conversion you want to track. The main sources are website, app, phone calls, and offline conversions.
  • Configure Conversion Settings: Customize the settings for your conversion action, including naming the conversion, setting a value, and defining the conversion window.
  • Install the Tracking Tag: Depending on the conversion source, you’ll need to install a tracking tag on your website or app. This could involve adding a global site tag (gtag.js) or a Google Tag Manager tag.
  • Verify Installation: Ensure that the tracking tag is correctly installed and functioning by testing the conversion action.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Methods

Now, let’s explore the different methods available for tracking conversions in Google Ads.

1. Website Conversions

Website conversions are actions that users take on your website after interacting with your ads. Common website conversions include purchases, sign-ups, and form submissions. Here’s how to set up website conversion tracking:

Global Site Tag (gtag.js)

The global site tag is a snippet of JavaScript code that you add to every page of your website. It serves as the foundation for all your Google Ads conversion tracking. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Get the Global Site Tag: In the conversion setup process, Google will provide you with a global site tag.
  • Install the Tag: Add the global site tag to the header section of every page on your website.
  • Add the Event Snippet: For each conversion action, Google will provide an event snippet. Add this snippet to the page where the conversion occurs (e.g., the confirmation page after a purchase).

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tag management system that simplifies the process of adding and managing tags on your website. Here’s how to use GTM for conversion tracking:

  • Set Up Google Tag Manager: Create a GTM account and container, then install the GTM code on your website.
  • Create a New Tag: In GTM, create a new tag for your conversion action.
  • Add a Trigger: Define a trigger that will fire the tag when the conversion action occurs (e.g., when a user reaches the thank-you page).
  • Publish the Tag: Publish your container to make the tag live on your website.

2. App Conversions

If you have a mobile app, tracking conversions within the app is crucial for understanding user behavior and optimizing your app install campaigns. Google Ads offers several methods for tracking app conversions:


Firebase is Google’s mobile and web application development platform. It provides robust analytics and conversion tracking capabilities. Here’s how to use Firebase for app conversion tracking:

  • Link Firebase to Google Ads: In the Firebase console, link your Firebase project to your Google Ads account.
  • Track Events in Firebase: Use the Firebase SDK to track specific in-app events that you consider as conversions (e.g., app installs, in-app purchases).
  • Import Conversions to Google Ads: In Google Ads, import the tracked events from Firebase as conversion actions.

Third-Party App Analytics

If you use a third-party app analytics tool (e.g., Adjust, AppsFlyer), you can integrate it with Google Ads to track conversions. The process involves:

  • Set Up Integration: Follow the instructions provided by the third-party tool to link it with your Google Ads account.
  • Track In-App Events: Use the tool’s SDK to track in-app events.
  • Import Conversions to Google Ads: Import the tracked events as conversion actions in your Google Ads account.

3. Phone Call Conversions

For businesses that rely on phone calls, tracking call conversions is vital. Google Ads offers two primary methods for tracking phone call conversions:

Call Extensions and Call-Only Ads

Call extensions allow you to display a phone number alongside your ads, while call-only ads focus exclusively on driving phone calls. To track conversions:

  • Set Up Call Extensions or Call-Only Ads: Create call extensions or call-only ads in your Google Ads account.
  • Enable Call Reporting: Turn on call reporting to track the details of calls generated by your ads.
  • Define Call Conversion Actions: Specify the criteria for a call to be counted as a conversion (e.g., calls longer than 30 seconds).

Website Call Conversions

If you want to track calls made from your website, use the website call conversion tracking method:

  • Set Up Call Conversion Tracking: In Google Ads, create a call conversion action and get the tracking code.
  • Install the Code on Your Website: Add the tracking code to the pages of your website where you display your phone number.
  • Track Call Conversions: The code will dynamically replace your phone number with a Google forwarding number, allowing you to track calls made from your website.

4. Offline Conversions

In some cases, conversions might happen offline, such as in-store purchases or phone orders. To track these offline conversions, you can import offline conversion data into Google Ads. Here’s how:

  • Collect Offline Data: Collect information about offline conversions, including relevant details like the customer’s email address or phone number.
  • Match Offline Data with Google Ads Clicks: Use the collected data to match offline conversions with corresponding Google Ads clicks.
  • Upload Offline Conversions: Upload the matched offline conversion data to Google Ads, using a CSV file or the Google Ads API.

5. Enhanced Conversions

Enhanced conversions is an advanced tracking method that uses first-party data to improve the accuracy of conversion tracking. It involves sending hashed customer data (e.g., email addresses) to Google, which matches it with signed-in Google accounts to track conversions more accurately. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Set Up Enhanced Conversions: In Google Ads, enable enhanced conversions for your account.
  2. Collect Customer Data: Collect first-party customer data (e.g., email addresses) at the time of conversion.
  3. Send Hashed Data to Google: Send the hashed customer data to Google using the global site tag or Google Tag Manager.


Effective conversion tracking is the backbone of any successful Google Ads campaign. By leveraging the various conversion tracking methods outlined in this guide, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behavior, optimize your ad spend, and ultimately drive more conversions. Whether you’re tracking website actions, app interactions, phone calls, offline sales, or using enhanced conversions, each method provides a unique way to measure and improve your advertising efforts. Embrace these tools and techniques to make data-driven decisions that propel your business forward in the competitive digital landscape.

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